A plant collector in Anatolia in the 19th century:
Benjamin Balansa (1825-1891)
Asuman Baytop & Michèle Nicolas
Benjamin Balansa (1825-1891) was a French traveler-naturalist attached to the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle at Paris. As a explorer botaniste, cultivator, interpriser, producer, he dedicated more than 40 years of his life to scientific travels far from his country. Between 1854 and 1866, he was in Anatolia where he herborized in the West, Central, South and North-east. In 1857, accompanied with his familiy, he settled in İzmir where he lived as a tradesman, interested in drugs. His botanical collection has been most useful in the elaboration of Flora Orientalis (1867-1888) in Geneva and of Flora of Turkey (1965-1985) in Edinburgh. We find cited in Flora Orientalis 2858 specimens of Balansa. In Flora of Turkey are cited ca. 1500 specimens of him from which 385 (includ. syntypes) are types of taxa new to science.
The examination of the specimens of Balansa in Flora of Turkey has enabled to trace his Anatolian expeditions as follows. In April-May 1854, he collected from Izmir and its surroundings. In March-October 1855, he visited Mersin and the Cilician Taurus. In June-September 1856 he traveled from Tarsus to Kayseri and concentrated his researches on the mountains of Kayseri. In May-July 1857, he explored Uşak and the neighbouring regions. In June-August 1866, he largely herborized in the region of Trabzon-Rize. In autumn 1866, he definetely returned to France. His Anatolian collection seems to be comprised of nearly 6000 specimens distributed in 35 herbaria, from which two are in U.S.A., the others in Europe.
Key Words: Turkish flora, botanical expeditions, collectors, B.Balansa, history of botany; Anahtar kelimeler: Türkiye florası, bitki toplamaları, toplayıcılar, B.Balansa, botanik tarihi.